tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC October 19, 2017 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight, the stunning and deeply personal moment at the white house. president trump's chief of staff, general john kelly, suddenly coming into the briefing room. what he said about president trump's phone call to the family of sergeant la david johnson. also tonight, the very rare move from a former president. george w. bush, who has shied away from the public eye, now breaking his silence tonight on what he's seeing in this country. also breaking, the state of emergency in florida, the white nationalist leader set to speak. and then, you'll see what happened today. just in tonight, the las vegas investigation, what we've now learned about those 12 minutes. new reporting tonight, what happened inside the cockpit as that passenger p
breaking now. what the lapd has just revealed about harvey weinstein. and will your city win? 50,000 amazon jobs, sal race of 100 grand. and how far will your city go? good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a thursday night. and we begin with that deeply personal moment at the white house today. chief of staff general john kelly coming into the briefing room, defending president trump's phone call to the family of sergeant la david johnson. and in doing so, general kelly talking about the loss of his own son, right there, in afghanistan. general kelly revealing the president asked him, what do i say when i call? and then, the general blasted the congresswoman who said the family was offended by the president's call. that family has said the same thing, general kelly did not address today, though, whether he was bothered by the president first bringing up those solemn calls early this week, comparing himself to his
correspondent cecilia vega leading us off. >> reporter: this was john kelly, not just as chief of staff, but as a retired four-star general and a father, whose own son, robert, was killed in 2010, when he stepped on a landmine in afghanistan. kelly says he personally counseled president trump on how to call the grieving families of fallen soldiers. >> there's no perfect way to make that phone call. when i took this job and talked to president trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it, because it's not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. it's nice to do, in my opinion, in any event. he asked me about previous presidents and i said i could tell you that president obama, who was my commander in chief when i was on active duty, did not call my family. that was not a criticism.
don't believe president obama called. that's not a negative thing. >> reporter: kelly says he and president trump spoke before those calls to the families of the four special ops soldiers killed in niger. >> and he said to me, what do i say? i said to him, sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families, but let me tell you what i tell them, let me tell you what my best friend joe dunford told me, because he was my casualty officer. he said kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. he knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. he knew what the possibilities were, because we're at war. and when he died and the four cases we're talking about niger and my s
surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends. that's what the president tried to say to four families the other day. >> reporter: the president did tell the widow of sergeant la david johnson that her his knew what he was signing up for. but the president's message, and how it was delivered, did not sit well with sergeant johnson's mother who told "the washington post," president trump did disrespect my son, and my daughter, and also me and my husband." and democratic florida congresswoman frederica wilson, who also listened to that call on speakerphone, went public with her frustration. >> he kept referring to him as your guy. he never called his name. so that was even more painful. >> reporter: today, kelly defended his boss. >> in his way, tried to express that opinion, that he's a brave man, a fallen hero. he knew what h
himself into, because he enlisted. there's no reason to enlist. he enlisted. and he was where he wanted to e be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. that was the message. that was the message that was transmitted. >> reporter: and he lashed out at the congresswoman. >> it stuns me that a member of congress would have listened in on that conversation. absolutely stuns me. and i thought at least that was sacred. >> reporter: but kelly did not address president trump's role in this controversy, that he was the one who ignited the firestorm when he turned a question about those four fallen soldiers in niger into a political swipe at his predecessors. >> the traditional way, if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. a lot of them didn't make calls. i like to call when it's appropriate, when i think i'm able to do it. >> and cecilia vega with us live from the white house tonight.
kelly made it very clear how upset he was with that congresswoman. do we know if he was at all upset with the president earlier this week who first brought up those very solemn calls that are often kept private, comparing himself to his predecessors? >> reporter: well, david, i'm told that john kelly is indeed very angry, but his anger tonight is not directed at president trump, it is indeed directed at congresswoman wilson. and at the media, for what this administration very much views as unfair attacks on this president. i'm told this was john kelly's idea to come out and talk to the cameras today. he very much publicly wanted to address this, david. >> he made that clear today. cecilia vega leading us off tonight. cecilia, thank you. it was monday in the rose garden when the president was asked about the deaths of four u.s. servicemen, part of a green beret team, all special ops, killed in an ambush in niger. 12 days had gone by with no comment from the president. it was there that the president talked about those solemn phone calls. tonight, t
revealed an investigation. how did these four men die, and did they have the intelligence and the backup that they needed to get out? here's abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross tonight. >> reporter: the deadly ambush in this remote african village happened more than two weeks ago. but tonight, the pentagon is still not providing a full and cogent narrative of how four american soldiers died after being attacked by an overwhelming force of more than 50 militants. officials said the full investigation, only announced today, is still ongoing. >> subsaharan africa is a very difficult place to operate. so, we will -- we'll investigate this. we'll have conclusions and those conclusions will be presented. i'm not prepared to go further. >> reporter: two key questions remain tonight. one, did the unit have the proper advance intelligence and backup air and ground support in case something went wrong. officials said the unit did not expect to be in combat. >> over the last six months we have conducted 29 partner patrols in this general area, without contact of any
did sergeant la david johnson get left behind when the rest of the unit pulled out? his body was not recovered for at least 20 hours. >> it took us a little while to do that, but we didn't leave him behind and we searched until we found him and we brought him home. >> reporter: u.s. forces have been in niger for the last four years, as the threat from this terror group has escalated, with its leader last year pledging allegiance to isis. >> there's a reason we have u.s. army soldiers there and not the peace corps, because we carry guns. >> reporter: as controversy swirled over the ambush in niger, the president was taking credit for u.s. victories against isis. >> i totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job. yeah, isis is now giving up. they're giving up. they're raising their hands. they're walking off. nobody's ever seen that before. >> why didn't that happen before? >> because you didn't have trump as your president. >> brian ross with us again tonight. and bruin, we took note that senator john mccain said today that he may need a subpoena to
>> reporter: the senator told abc news he did not think the administration was being up front about what happened in niger, even suggesting, as you say, that as chairman of the armed services committee, he might issue a subpoena to get the information he wants and needs. >> brian ross with us tonight. brian, thank you. meantime, after president trump spoke about his predecessors earlier this week, two of them are making rare public appearances. george w. bush here in new york city, who has kept a very low profile since leaving office, now breaking his silence on what he's seeing in america today. here's abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl. >> reporter: george w. bush has avoided politics since leaving office, but today, the former president seemed to throw down the gauntlet, warning of the rise of, quote, bullying and prejudice in america. >> bigotry seems emboldened. our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. we've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty.
forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. >> reporter: the former president never mentioned the current president, but much of the speech seemed directly aimed at the words and policies of donald trump. >> we've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to america. >> reporter: and while trump has been criticized for being slow to condemn racists, bush drew a bright line. >> bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the american creed. [ applause ] >> reporter: former president obama was also making a rare public appearance today, campaigning for democratic candidates in new jersey and virginia. >> hello, everybody! >> reporter: no mention of president trump, but also no mistaking his target. >> some of the politics we see, now we -- we thought we put that to bed.
not the 19th century. come on. >> and jon karl with us live from the white house, as well. and jon, back to former president george w. bush today, because on russia meddling, he said the russian government has made a project of turning americans against each other? >> reporter: former president bush really sounded the alarm on this, saying that russian interference amounts to, quote, a sustained attempt by a hostile power to exploit our country's divisions. david? >> jon karl with us tonight, as well. thank you, jon. and you heard former president bush there talking about racism and bigotry in this country. it came as there was a state of emergency in florida, as a white nationalist was about to take the stage. he was involved in the protests in charlottesville and he was about to talk in gainesville, florida, and you're about to see what happened next. here's abc's victor oquendo tonight. >> reporter: white nationalist richard spencer booed from the moment he walked on stage at
the crowd standing and shouting "go home." these students right behind me here, chanting and booing the entire time. spencer, a key figure in charlottesville. >> we'll never back down. >> reporter: where we saw the haunting images and violent flashes. the florida governor declaring a state of emergency in preparation for spencer's speech today in gainesville. hundreds of protesters gathering outside the site of the speech. >> we need to show that the u.s., that gainesville that the state of florida condemns richard spencer and his ideology. >> reporter: the afternoon, mostly peaceful, then, this flareup. the crowd surrounding this man wearing a t-shirt covered in swastikas. his mouth bloody. law enforcement working quick tloi clear the scene. and on that stage, spencer trying to speak through the noise, but the chants
>> now it's time for me to speak. i will stand here all day if i have to. >> reporter: when he walked off the stage, richard spencer th k thanked the university of florida. he said he was happy to be here and he will continue his fight. david? >> victor, thank you. next to the massacre in las vegas. tonight, we have new reporting here about those fateful 12 minutes, and when police finally arrived. and which teams were actually able to get there first? abc's matt gutman again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, new details about those 12 critical minutes as police responded to the las vegas rampage. abc news has learned that there were police officers in the mandalay bay hotel securing another event when stephen paddock opened fire. but the hotel complex is so vast that, police say, officers who were across the street at the country music concert got there faster. running through the streets in that rain of bullets.
striking as you see this from the air, is that vast distance from that suite up on the 32nd floor down to that concert venue down below. 12 minutes after security officer jesus campos was wounded and radio'ed for help. in his first interview, campos telling ellen degeneres how he'd been sent to investigate an open door in the stairwell. >> as that door is closing, and it's so heavy, it will slam. i'm walking down this way, and i believe that's what caught the shooter's attention. as i was walking down, i heard rapid fire. >> reporter: the gunman shooting through his hotel room door, hitting campos in the leg. with this new timeline, the remaining mystery is, why did stephen paddock do this? now, police tell me that he was so secretive that we may never know. david? >> matt gutman again tonight. thank you, matt. president trump
puerto rico's governor to the white house today, four weeks after the hurricane struck. just 21% of the island has power. more than a quarter of the island still does not have drinking water. president trump and the governor today. >> i give ourselves a ten. i think it was worse than katrina. it was, in my ways, worse than anything people have ever seen. >> the governor saying the island still needs more resources, and that's why he came to see the president. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this thursday. the emergency landing, the plane coming down onto cars, slamming into them. multiple injuries tonight. we'll have reporting from the scene. also, the passenger jet coming so close to that tower. tonight, what we've learned, what happened inside the cockpit. and breaking news late today. what the lapd has just revealed about harvey weinstein. a lot more news ahead. things than ter rheumatiod arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist move to another treatment, ask if xeljanz xr is right for you. xeljanz xr is a once-daily pill
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but that didn't help witnesses inside the airport. here's abc's terry moran. >> reporter: it was supposed to be a grand farewell, air berlin's final long-haul flight, plumes of water from the fire brigade before takeoff from miami. but then, that maneuver, coming in for a landing at deucele door ch, suddenly pulling up and veering toward the tower. stunning those in the terminal. >> in this time of terror, in this time when we've seen a german pilot deliberately fly an airplane into the side of a mountain, this was unnecessary, this was uncalled for. >> reporter: why did they do it? the pilots were reportedly performing an "honor lap," a stunt to say goodbye. inside that airplane, there was no panic. the pilots had alerted passengers about their move. it was all reminiscent of "top gun." >> it's time to buzz the tower. >> reporter: but that's hollywood. there were hundreds of people onboard that air berlin plane. today, those pilots have been suspended. german authorities are
has released a statement, saying, "in aviation, safety comes first. we take the incident very seriously." david? >> terry moran with us tonight. thank you, terry. when we come back tonight, 50,000 amazon jobs. some salaries of 100 grand. b what some american cities are trying to do to win the jobs. also, the plane crash, smashing into cars. the injuries tonight. there is also late word on ha harvey weinstein coming in. what the lapd has revealed. how much money do you think you'll need in retirement?
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finally tonight, america strong. it takes a lot to get children to look up from their food in the cafeteria, a lot to get their attention. but one student has. these are not your ordinary lunchroom sounds. theodore judah elementary in folsom, california. ♪ at the piano, 10-year-old fifth grader nathan zhang. playing bach's english suite #2 bouree. instead of playing outside nathan's playing inside. for the first graders, during lunch period. ♪ the young faces turning to watch. and tonight, nathan with this message -- >> hi, david. >> reporter: -- with how he does it. >> i've always enjoyed performing in front of people, and i thought, you know, when i could perform for them class call music, i could also, like, popularize class call music, and i think, you know, adding some
be very good for them. i'm going to be play ing chopin impromptu #1 and bach english suite #2. >> reporter: and today he revealed what he's going to play for us. his young audience ready, and so are we. ♪ the school and the principal tonight, grateful to nathan. >> his gift is not just playing the piano, but it's his heart. ♪ [ applause ] >> bravo. nathan can play for us any time. thanks for watching here on a thursday night. i'm david muir. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow. from all of us here, good night.
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